Ashok Jhunjhunwala
Born (1953-06-22) 22 June 1953 (age 70)
Alma materIIT Kanpur, University of Maine
AwardsPadma Shri (2002)
Scientific career
FieldsElectrical Engineering and Telecommunications
InstitutionsIIT Madras Research Park, Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras, TeNeT Group

Ashok Jhunjhunwala (born 22 June 1953) is an Indian academic and innovator. He received his B.Tech. (Electrical Engineering) from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and PhD from the University of Maine.  He has been a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras since 1981.[1] He is the President of IIT Madras Research Park and Chairman of International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad. During his career, he has contributed extensively to technology innovation and adoption in the Indian context.

Early life

Ashok Jhunjhunwala was born in Kolkata on 22 June 1953 in a Marwari family. His grandfather was a Gandhian and a close associate of Vinoba Bhave, working with Mahatma Gandhi.[2]

He studied in St Lawrence High School in Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) in India, completing the Higher Secondary examination in 1970. He did his B.Tech degree from IIT Kanpur and MS and PhD from University of Maine, USA and was a faculty member at Washington State University.

Academic career

Prof. Ashok Jhunjhunwala’s first appointment was in Washington State University, USA from 1979 to 1980. Prof. Jhunjhunwala then joined IIT Madras in 1981 in the Department of Electrical Engineering. His research areas include Optical Communication, Computer Networks, Wireless Communication, Decentralized(DC) Solar and Electric Vehicles, where he has significantly contributed in various dimensions.

Over the last few decades he has looked at cost and affordability of various components of the telecommunications and the Internet network, especially in the Indian context.[3][4] He has worked on techniques to enable communication networks to reach remote parts of rural India.[5][6][7][8][9] In recent times, he has made some significant contributions in Solar-DC and in battery systems for Electric Vehicles.[10][11][12][13][14] He has guided more than 70 M.S. and Ph.D. students.[15]

Over the course of his career Jhunjhunwala has served as Chairman and member of various government committees. He has been on boards of several private companies and educational institutions in the country. He was on the boards of the State Bank of India, Bharat Electronics Ltd, Hindustan Teleprinters Limited, NRDC, Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), VSNL and BSNL as well as Tata Communications, Mahindra Electric, Sasken, Tejas Networks, Tata Teleservices Maharashtra Ltd, Intellect and Exicom. As of 2020 he is on the board of Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), Chairman of IIITH and is the Chairman of Technology Advisory Committee of SEBI.[16][17] In 2017 - 18, Jhujhunwala was on sabbatical from IITM, serving as the Principal Advisor to the Ministry of Power in the Government of India, and the Ministry of Railways in the Government of India, New Delhi.[18][17]

Contributions in technology innovation and adoption

Industry-Academia Intervention and Incubation

When Dr. Jhunjhunwala joined IIT Madras in 1981, as an academician he observed that there was not enough interaction between industry and academic institutions. Industries did not invest in R&D of their own and preferred to import knowledge and technology. This resulted in unaffordable products and services which were available to only a section of the society.[19] He recognized that if products and services were to be used by the bulk of Indian Society they had to be made affordable. His idea was to develop technology in-house by mutual participation of both academia and industry. To further this objective Dr. Jhunjhunwala initiated the setting up of the IITM Research Park, adjacent to the IITM campus.[18][20] The 1.2 million sqft space today has about 60 R&D centres of industries, working closely with IITM, thus creating an eco-system where faculty, students and industry professionals interact in a formal and informal manner.[21] He believes that such interaction is the key to technological innovations and entrepreneurship. Prof Jhunjhunwala's approach of collaboration with industry has resulted in development and adoption of technology at the grass-roots level.

Innovation in Telecom Networks

In the mid 90's his work on development of the corDECT Wireless Local Loop (WLL) allowed India to move to wireless communication systems at much lower cost.[22] Both the capital and operational cost were significantly lower than those of any technologies prevalent at that point of time. corDECT enables wireless access solution for telecom networks with integration of both voice and Internet services.[23] He was conferred the Padma Shri in 2002 for his work on Wireless Communication Systems.

His other initiatives like setting up of the Centre for Excellence in Wireless Technology (CEWiT) and the Telecom Standards Development Society of India (TSDSI) have enabled India to export IPR in telecom.

Innovation in Electric Vehicles

Since 2016, Prof Jhunjhunwala is leading the efforts of bringing EVs in the country.[24] [25] He mentors several startups and groups to develop new batteries and EV models. He aims to make Electric Vehicles affordable. This will reduce India's import bill of oil and promote a greener technology.

He has come up with various innovations such as reducing the size of batteries, battery swapping, using environment friendly zero–effluent recycling of spent Li-ion batteries which have resulted in significant enhancements in energy efficiencies of EVs .[26]

Innovation in Solar Decentralization

Since about 2010, Dr Jhunjhunwala has focused his research on the power problems of India which affect the masses.[27] He developed solar roof-top and DC power-line at home along with the use of DC-powered appliances as an answer to these problems. This innovative technique reduces power consumption.[28]

Awards and honours


  1. ^ Ashok, Jhunjhunwala. "Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Madras". Retrieved 2 August 2020.
  2. ^ Lakshmi, Krupa (10 January 2013). "The sky is his limit". The Hindu. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  3. ^ Sridhar, Varadharajan (2011). The Telecom Revolution In India: Technology, Regulation, and Policy. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0198075530.
  4. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A (1999). "Affordable fibre access network for developing countries". International Conference on Integrated Optics and Optical Fiber Communication. 1: 47–49.
  5. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Ramamurthi, B; Gonsalves, T.A. (1998). "The role of technology in telecom expansion in India". IEEE Communications Magazine. 36 (11): 88–94. doi:10.1109/35.733480.
  6. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A (March 2002). "Challenges in Rural Connectivity for India". ASCI Journal of Management. 31.
  7. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A (2003). "Drivers of Telecom in India". IETE Technical Review. 20 (4): 279–287. doi:10.1080/02564602.2003.11417085. S2CID 60528044.
  8. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Sangamitra, R (August 2005). "Rural Connectivity in India". Computer Society of India (CSI) Communications Magazine.
  9. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Rangarajan, J (July 2011). "Connecting the Next Billion: Empowering Rural India". IT Professional. 13 (4): 53–55. doi:10.1109/MITP.2011.58. S2CID 39950725.
  10. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A (28 August 2017). "Electric Vehicles are the future of Transportation". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  11. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Mehta, T (12 July 2019). "Can India make the transition to electric vehicles?". The Hindu. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
  12. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Lolla, A; Kaur, P (2016). "Solar-dc Microgrid for Indian Homes: A Transforming Power Scenario". IEEE Electrification Magazine. 4 (2). IEEE: 10–19. doi:10.1109/MELE.2016.2543950. S2CID 28023552.
  13. ^ Kaur, P; Jain, S; Jhunjhunwala, A (2015). "Solar-DC deployment experience in off-grid and near off-grid homes: Economics, technology and policy analysis". 2015 IEEE First International Conference on DC Microgrids (ICDCM). pp. 26–31. doi:10.1109/ICDCM.2015.7152004. ISBN 978-1-4799-9880-7. S2CID 37218635.
  14. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Kaur, P; Mutagekar, S (December 2018). "Electric Vehicles in India: A Novel Approach to Scale Electrification". IEEE Electrification Magazine. 6 (4): 40–47. doi:10.1109/MELE.2018.2871278. S2CID 54215765.
  15. ^ "Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala". National Academy of Engineering. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  16. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Board of Directors, BIRAC". BIRAC. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  17. ^ a b Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Technical Advisory Committee, SEBI". Securities and Exchange Board of India. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  18. ^ a b "Ashok Jhunjhunwala". The Economic Times. 22 November 2018. Retrieved 13 June 2020.
  19. ^ National Research Council, Policy and Global Affairs, Board on Science, Technology, and Economic Policy, Committee on Comparative Innovation Policy: Best Practice for the 21st Century (8 September 2009). Understanding Research, Science and Technology Parks: Global Best Practices: Report of a Symposium. National Academies Press. pp. 61–66. ISBN 978-0309145466. ((cite book)): |last= has generic name (help)CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  20. ^ Ravindranath, Sushila (6 November 2019). "Working on solutions for 'very' Indian problems". Financial Express.
  21. ^ "IITM Incubation Cell". Archived from the original on 18 June 2020. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
  22. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A; Jalihal, D (26 March 2015). "Wireless in Local Loop—Some Fundamentals". IETE Journal of Research. 46 (6): 421–433. doi:10.1080/03772063.2000.11416187. S2CID 110576051.
  23. ^ IN patent 198261, Indian Institute of Technology; Ashok Jhunjhunwala & Bhaskar Ramamurthi, "A LONG RANGE RELAY BASE DECT SYSTEM", published 2005-03-25, issued 2006-05-19 
  24. ^ "Ashok Jhunjhunwala – India is ready for the EV revolution. Are you?". PlugInIndia. 11 November 2017.
  25. ^ IN application 198261, Indian Institute of Technology; Ashok Jhunjhunwala & Bhaskar Ramamurthi et al., "A method and system for maximizing power efficiency in a solar DC system", published 2016-07-01 
  26. ^ "IIT Madras testing prototype of swappable electric battery". The Statesman. 27 January 2018.
  27. ^ Jhunjhunwala, A (31 January 2017). "Innovative Direct-Current Microgrids to Solve India's Power Woes". IEEE Spectrum.
  28. ^ IN patent, Indian Institute of Technology; Ashok Jhunjhunwala & Bhaskar Ramamurthi et al., "PROVIDING UNINTERRUPTED POWER SUPPLY TO CONSUMERS", published 2015-09-04 
  29. ^ "Hari Om Ashram Prerit Vikram Sarabhai Research Award Awardees List". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  30. ^ "Dr. A. Jhunjhunwala, Distinguished Alumnus Awardees 2000". Dean, Resources and Alumni, IIT Kanpur. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  31. ^ "Indian Science Congress 2000 – A Report" (PDF). Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research. 59: 487–505.
  32. ^ "COPPER EXCELLENCE AWARD FOR TECHNOLOGY INNOVATION". International Copper Association India. Archived from the original on 17 June 2020. Retrieved 17 June 2020.
  33. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "UGC- Hari Om Ashram Trust Awards". Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  34. ^ "Details of the IETE Awards". Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  35. ^ "INSA Awards Recipients". Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  36. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok (6 January 2016). "Bernard Lown Humanitarian Awardees List". Retrieved 25 April 2020.
  37. ^ "Professor Ashok Jhunjhunwala". National Academy of Engineering, USA. 7 February 2018. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  38. ^ "Ashok Jhunjhunwala Biography IITM". Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  39. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "IEEE Fellows Directory". Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  40. ^ "IEEE Fellows 2009 | IEEE Communications Society".
  41. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Fellows, Indian Academy of Science".
  42. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Fellow, Indian National Science Academy". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  43. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Fellow, The National Academy of Sciences". Archived from the original on 7 July 2020. Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  44. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Fellow, Indian National Academy of Engineering". Retrieved 23 April 2020.
  45. ^ Jhunjhunwala, Ashok. "Fellow, WWRF". Retrieved 23 April 2020.